Love Letters

i love youA teenage girl lost her father and regretted that she hadn’t sufficiently expressed her love before he passed.  Another teenage girl, absorbing this lesson, decided to write love letters to each member of her extended family.  She could write things she couldn’t say out loud.

It took courage to release her feelings.  She felt vulnerable and unsure of how her messages would be received.  Being young and inexperienced in the power of love, the girl did not anticipate the gratitude that was released through her expressions of affection.

A grandmother with a tough exterior, softened.

A beloved grandpa cried outright.

A burdened aunt stepped a little lighter.

And an uncle, who keeps to himself, was shockingly animated and conversant.

It was all very confusing for the girl.  She had discovered that her love had power.  She could hold it or share it.  She could shape it into words that helped people, including herself.  With love, she could change the world.

The girl decided that love would be something she’d use more often to lighten the load.  She vowed to do more reflecting that would remind her of the importance of the people in her life.  She would write to help the people see it too.  She would open herself whenever she could to the gifts that loving-kindness had to offer.

In this way, the girl protected herself from the threat of regret.  More importantly, she pushed love to the front of the line where it belonged, where she could see it clearly and allow it to color her world.

Love, Here I Come

i love youEvery year at this time (the Christian season of Lent) I seize the opportunity to spearhead my own crash course on Life.  Some themes I’ve taken on in past years include Gratitude, Non-Judgment, and Giving.  For forty days I commit my focus to a challenge that impels me to be a better version of myself.  Without fail, this practice proves to be life-altering and inspirational.

I don’t always go public with these personal encounters, but when Friend asked me what project I was cooking up this year (so that she might also be inspired), I felt obliged to share.  Marianne Williamson said, “As we let our own light shine, we give other people permission to do the same.”  Or as the fellow diner said in response to Meg Ryan’s orgasm interpretation (in When Harry Met Sally), “I’ll have what she’s having.”  Same same.

So here it is, The Forty Days of Love.  Cliché, I know, since it also happens to be Valentine’s Day.  But whatever, love rules.

Love is one of those words that has no right being just one word.  There’s too much going on with love to box it up in four letters.  Poets and playwrights, saints and songwriters have said more about love than any other subject, and still, they’ve only grazed the surface.  There’s plenty more to learn about love and I intend to do just that.  Experiment and learn.  I’ll notice it, play with it, express it, apologize for withholding it, accept it, and maybe even try to define it.

No one and no thing is off limits.  If you cross my path this month, be you friend or foe, expect to find love.  Love has agreed to be my constant companion.  It’s good like that – very accommodating – though very sneaky too.  Love tends to hide in the most unlikely places.  No worries, I have a nose like a basset hound.  And a black belt in gratitude.  Love, I will hunt you down if I have to.  But I don’t expect it will come to that.

If you intend to join me on this journey, buckle up.  It’s never an easy stroll through the park.  This conscious living thing is Work.  I’m not talking about ladling on an extra dose of hugs and kisses to the dear ones.  It’s easy to love them. No ma’am, I’m talkin’ love thy enemies – the ones who tick you off and stir the pot and make you want to say those curse words that fit so nicely in the angry space.  That’s the love I want to know – the kind that claims dominion over evil.

It’s you and me against the world, love.  Let’s do this thing.


p.s. After writing this piece and before posting it, a neighbor’s house was broken into.  I offered up my blessings for the people who had been violated, then another for the criminal – for whatever is going on for him/her that motivates stealing.  Hard to suspend the judgment, but I’m throwing some love in that direction and the judgment is caving.  Powerful stuff love is.

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